Drums have been around for decades before they are known to be what they are called today. They are instruments that have been in use for several different occasions. However they are used before, drums still require the right amount of skills to play it just right.
As one of the oldest instruments in the world, the interesting history of drums is certainly long. In this article, we are going to explore different facts about drums.
Let us get started!
1. Earliest Set
The earliest set of drums ever recorded was a drum called the Alligator Drum (1). It was made from clay and alligator hides.
Based on the markings and form of this drum, archaeologists and historians concluded that the old Neolithic communities used it for shamanic purposes.
The alligator drum was used as a ceremonial drum way back in Neolithic China. These drums have been unearthed in several known Neolithic locations throughout the country.
The oldest alligator drum was made of wood and alligator hides and was known to have been used by the Dawenkou (2) tribe for rituals and ceremonies. This drum dates back to 4100 – 2600 BC.9
2. War Drums
During the civil war, war drums were crucial to the military and to this day, the image of drummer boys still remains an endearing image within the minds of many Americans.
Drummer boys were in charge of maintaining the beat to aid the march of the soldiers.
The most important part of their job was learning dozens of drum calls to convey messages on the battlefield. Here is a video showcasing some of the drum calls used during the civil war:
However, the civil war was not the pioneer event where drums are used in war. This method has played a crucial part during wars in medieval and Renaissance Europe.
According to historians, the usage of drums during wars to send coded messages came to Europe after the crusades.
The largest drum ever created was a traditional Korean drum called the CheonGo It was created by the local government of YeongDong-Gun in Simcheon-meon, South Korea on July 6, 2011. The colorful drum is not just for display and is fully functional. Here is a video of it being hit:
It weighs a whopping 7 tonnes and measures 5.54 meters or 18 feet and 2 inches in diameter and 5.96 meters or 19 feet and 6 inches in height.
The tallest drum, called the Isokan drum (3), was unveiled in the 2016 Nigerian Drums Festival held in Ogun State, Nigeria. The state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun revealed that the height of the drum which is 16 feet tall, has a religious significance to the people of Yoruba (4).
5. Largest Drum Set
The largest drum set in the world is owned by a minister named Dr. Mark Temperato, also known as RevM. RevM is also a professional musician for thirty-eight years and has been laboring to build the world’s largest drum set.
Today, his set consists of over eight hundred thirteen pieces, and according to him, he is still adding more whenever he can.
When transported, the full set needs a 48-feet, 18-wheeler truck and takes about three to four people an estimated time of fifteen hours to set up.
Every part of the set is within reach of RevM. Here is a video of him playing:
6. Animal Drumming
As it turns out, humans are not the only one who knows how to use the drums in order to convey different messages throughout their communities.
Macaques are also known to drum on things using a specific rhythm as a show of dominance. There have also been cases of Macaques using other rhythms in order to communicate throughout their troop.
7. Most Expensive Drum
The highest price a drum set has ever been bought was at $2,100,000. It was sold at Julien’s Auctions in California on December 5, 2015.
The drumset was Ringo Starr’s Ludwig set which was known to have been used in at least two hundred Beatles concerts ever since its purchase in 1962.
8. Drumming As a Workout
It is a known fact that drumming can be considered a full-body workout. Playing the drums for an extended amount of time is taxing at the very least. However, just exactly how effective are drums in burning fats and calories?
Playing the drums for half an hour can burn twice as many fats and calories as biking or running for the same period of time. According to The Chicago Tribune (5), the physical exertion of rock drummers during a one and a half-hour live show is equivalent to that of a 10K runner or a professional soccer player.
9. Longest Drum Session
Every drummer knows how physically taxing it is to play the drums for an extended period. At the two hour mark, plenty of drummers are about ready to give up. However, this is not the same for every drummer. Some truly love breaking boundaries.
The longest drum playing session by a single person went on for an amazing one hundred and twelve hours and twenty-five minutes. This amazing feat was accomplished by Kunto Hartono in Malang City, Indonesia from December 27, 2011, to January 1, 2012.
10. Drums as Means of Communication
Drums are not just used as a means of communication on the battlefield. In ancient times, it is also used to communicate between communities in forested areas. According to certain studies (6), drums can be used to send signals to other members of the communities as far as three to seven miles. Find out how loud are drum sets are from my other article.
There is even a drum called the Cambarisu (7) originating from the Catuquinaru tribe (8) in Brazil that is known to send vibrations through the ground to other Cambarisus as long as they are within a mile and a half radius.
11. Different Woods Make Different Sounds
The different types of wood used in making drum shells are not just an aesthetic choice. Different types of wood affect the sound a drum can make. For example, Maplewood has a warm and resonant sound while birch is aggressive and has less resonance. Drum shells made from oak and mahogany produce a higher volume.
Additionally, the thickness of the layers of wood used to create the shell of the drum also affects its sound.
12. Electric Drums
Electric drums became all the rage in the 1980s to the point where many believed they would replace acoustic drums entirely. However, many drummers still loved the way acoustic drum kits sounded better, and so, the acoustic drums remain a preference of many drummers worldwide even today.
However, acoustic drums are not entirely out of the woods as even simple acoustic sets have electrical components mixed in with them.
That ends our list of our interesting drum information and facts. If you want to learn about drumming, you may check the online drum lessons reviews and choose what lesson is best for you.
I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing. See you in the next article!
11+ Interesting Facts About Drums (You’ll Be Shocked at Number 7)